Sneak Peeks August 15th 2019


Happy Thursday! It’s the first week of school down in Florida! My oldest is in school and that gives me more time to scrap! Celebrate the start of the school year by treating yourself to some of this week’s new releases! Let’s take a peek!

From Dagilicious

From JB Studio

From Down This Road

From Tinci

From Lindsay Jane

From Aimee Harrison

From Miss Fish

From Snickerdoodle

From Neia

Have a great weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday – Back to Basics

Anatomy of a Well-Composed Layout

Last week’s tutorial about stacking papers brought this comment from Franghurst: “I found this article very useful.  I have never stacked a paper digitally and I now feel comfortable enough to give it a try.  It’s great when you give us a brand new idea about doing something but I must admit, I like the articles when you go back to the basics.  It’s fun to be reminded how to do things that you learned about a while back.” Of course, that got me thinking. And thinking some more. Today we’re going to go right back the most basic aspect of scrapbooking: composition!

When I look at the layouts in the Gallery, there are layouts that snag my attention right away. I think you know what I mean. There are some things these really fabulous layouts have in common: they’re well-composed. It might not be obvious what makes them catch the eye, so let’s talk about the six basic components of composition. These are focal point, leading lines, balance, rule of thirds, white space and movement.

Focal point: Usually the purpose of a layout is to showcase a photo, or photos. So typically they will be the focal point. But not always. Sometimes the scrapper wants the focus on the story it’s telling, and sometimes the focus is on some other aspect of the layout. This piece by shawnbear is definitely focused on the large photo. She has used several tools from the composition list to achieve her goal.

The size of the photo is the first tool; the rays of paper and the column of elements does the rest.

Leading lines: What exactly are leading lines? They are whatever linear aspects of a layout that lead the eye right to the focal point. Like shawnbear‘s papers. This layout by gwalters goes even deeper into leading lines because they’re both in the main photo AND the layout.

The wire of the fence draws the eye to his face. with one eye framed by them. The chevrons lead the eye to her title. And the concentric paper squares emphasize the converging lines of the layout quite neatly.

Balance: There are lots of ways to create balance in our layouts. The goal is to have areas of equal weight. Flissy61 has done just that.

She’s got the large blended photo balanced by the trio of smaller photos at the bottom. Let’s talk about those small photos for a second. Notice how she has a photo of just the sculpture and a photo of just her daughter, flanking a photo of both. Bingo! Balance. Then she’s used repetition to add more balance to the image with the two vines and the pennants.

Rule of Thirds: This is something I discussed in a previous tutorial on taking better photos. The “Rule of Thirds” means imaginarily dividing your image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, then placing any (or all!) intersection of those imaginary lines over a focal point. lmtroch has done that in her layout below.

Do you see it? (My lines might be a little off… I eyeballed them.)

White space: This isn’t a literal thing… more of an uncrowded area of the layout where the eye can go to rest. Jill is a master at the use of white space – literally in this layout!

I think white space is a vastly underused tool. But see how effective it is to have these two large areas of just paper.

And last is Movement. By this I mean the way the layout guides the eye around to take in all its components. becky_a makes it look easy.

It really doesn’t matter where you start with this layout, your eye is moved around the whole thing perfectly. Here again, the placement of her photos is key; they all are facing the centre of the layout – harmonious and very pleasing. The bubbles act as a vector to move the viewer, as does the piece of string. And the three little flower clusters keep things on track.

Okay. There you have the factors that create strong compositions. I invite you take a good look at each of these layouts and see if you can pick out each of the “rules” in them. You might also take a critical look at the templates you really like and analyze what makes them attractive to you. I bet you’ll find at least a couple of ways to fit them into the “rules”!

~August Feature Designer – Magical Scraps Galore~

Hey there everyone. Just popping in here to talk about our August Feature Designer. This month we are focusing on Marina of Magical Scraps Galore. She was awesome about answering the questions I had for her. Let’s see what she had to say.

How long have you been designing?

I started designing in 2011, so it’s been 8 years now.

What made you decide to design?

I started to make my own digital papers and embellishments for scrapping our second trip to Disney World, which of course were very basic. I had so much fun that I decided that I wanted to learn more about digital scrapbook designing, so I spent hours and hours reading and watching Photoshop tutorials. Then I took park in the design challenges hosted by MouseScrappers, and after that I opened my first shop in 2013.

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and ArtRage.

Describe your design workplace.

I design in my studio at home, with my two cats sleeping by my computer or on my lap.

What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

My main motivation and inspiration are my kids and my trips around the world.

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

Mmmm this is a tough one … I have several kits that I love, especially my travel collection, but one of my favorite kits is Destinations: Road Trip. I love the colors and the retro feel.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a proofreader for a consulting firm.

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Yes, I met Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films)

What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading Book 2 of the Game of Thrones series (A Song of Ice and Fire)

What is your favorite quote?

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

What is something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Next year I’m celebrating both my 50th birthday and 20th wedding anniversary with a roadtrip from Mt Rushmore to Las Vegas, making stops in many Utah and Arizona National Parks.

You have your own latenight talk show, who do you invite as your first guest?

Jason Momoa

If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?

I’d keep Spotify, Instagram, and my running app.

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

I’d have them cook!

Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?

To the future, definitely!

What commercial jingle gets stuck in your head all the time.

I’d say none, I’ve been watching Netflix only lately.

If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?

Red wine!

Thank you so much Marina!!

Make sure to check our her GingerScraps store, her Facebook Fan Page, her Facebook Group, and her webpage (she has some freebies if you sign up for her newseletter).

She’s having a sale all month to celebrate being our Feature Designer. And make sure you are grabbing the Daily Download as well.

Have a great day!!

Sneak Peeks August 8th 2019

Happy Thursday!! This is the last week of summer for the kids in Florida. I must say I am so ready for school to begin! Our designers are releasing new goodies to help you scrap all those summer memories you made! Let’s check out a peek!

From Dagilicious

From Aimee Harrison

From Tinci

From JB Studio

From Miss Fish

Have a Great Weekend!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Anatomy of a Paper Stack

I don’t often give a lot of thought to the process of creating layouts, but a comment I received from becky_a on a layout I prepared for Katie of Just So Scrappy and Ooh La La Scraps with her August Buffet collection Live Life started me thinking about it. The two layouts I created for this collection were a little unusual for me, because I didn’t use templates for either of them. (I just couldn’t find one that I liked enough!) The layout becky_a commented on is this one:

… and this is what she said: “I love stacked papers like this and I have the most difficult time making them look right, lol. You make it look so easy.” I had to go look at the layout because I wasn’t sure what she meant! And then I thought maybe it might be worth talking about.

There are no rules for paper stacking. None. It’s pretty much a free-for-all! You can use whatever papers you like, mixing patterns and colours, shapes and angles to suit your whims. Let’s talk first about choosing papers. I’ve always struggled with boldly-patterned paper. They don’t often work with my style of scrapping, but using them in a paper stack like this is one way I can feel comfortable using them. As you can see, that black and white patterned paper is pretty bold! But it’s black and white, so it can work with pretty much anything. I like the paper closest to the photos and elements and largest by area to be relatively neutral, so it doesn’t draw the eye away from the meat-and-potatoes part of the layout. If I’m not planning on journaling ON that paper, patterns can work. I also like to mix up scale. A bold paper needs to be balanced by some smaller patterns or solids. But that doesn’t mean you CAN’T use another bold pattern, because you can resize to so it works well with  your other papers and what you’re doing with them. This is pretty much how I approach paper stacking all the time, whether or not I’m using a template; I like to contrast bright with neutral, bold with subtle, pattern with solid and to have some visible difference between them. But that’s how JAN stacks papers. I’ve seen lots of fabulous stacked-paper layouts where the scrapper has used a monochrome palette, mixed lots of patterns together or only used solids, so as I said, no rules!

Let’s look at this layout, also with the same collection and sans template. I use the Marquee tool and Inverse (Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>Shift>I) to cut my random shapes. To make concentric circles or ovals, I make a copy of the first oval then use the Select>Modify>Decrease path, typing in a pixel count to make the new oval smaller. Clip a paper to it and move on.

(My daughter and sister might not like to know I’ve called them both weird people. Or maybe they’d take it as a compliment. IDK!) When talking about colours, I often pull colour from my photographs. OR… I go for contrast. Here, the photo is pretty neutral, so the red, orange, purple and green from the kit all work together. You can see that I’ve mixed in some ovals and rectangles, some pennants and the square background papers. I’m going to tell you how I do those backgrounds, which might be news to those still learning digi-scrapping but is probably old hat to the more experienced in the group.

First step is to choose your papers. Then open a new 12×12 (or your favourite dimensions) canvas on your workspace. Decide which paper will be your main background, the one you want right under your elements and photo(s). Decide on the order of your other papers, keeping in mind the aesthetics of the layout as a whole. I usually use 3 papers for these stacked backgrounds because, as my dear friend Sandy Scott likes to remind me, 3 is an aesthetically pleasing number. You can drop them all onto your layout, turning visibility off to the topmost ones so you can see what you’re doing as you climb the stack. Or you can add them one at a time. Whatever suits your workflow. I’m showing them all piled on at once and in the screenshot after this one, you’ll see that the topmost paper is invisible.

To make a visually pleasing rotated stack, you’ll want to make the upper papers a bit smaller than the background paper. (Or not. Remember, no rules!) The easiest way to do it is to click on one of the corner “handles” on the bounding box, then either pull that handle in toward the centre, or take the quick-and-lazy route and type a number into that box I’ve shown you here. That keeps the papers centered one on top of the other. Just make sure you’ve got the Constrain Proportions box checked so it shrinks the paper in both horizontal and vertical planes.

Then rotate that second piece of paper. The Pivot point selected is the centre one – the default. The angle will be half of the percentage by which you’ve shrunk your paper, unless you want your corners to extend off the page. There are two spots where you can see the angle you’re rotating to, the black pop-up box and down in the Tool panel. I usually just eye-ball it.

I like to keep the papers in a rotated stack, other than the actual background, all the same size. It’s obviously not required, it’s just my OCD-ness. Shrinking the paper is done in exactly the same manner.

Then I tip the next/top paper in the opposite direction, to about the same angle. And that’s all there is to it! Shadow those babies up and you’re ready to move along.

The second example is even more straightforward.

When you’re doing this kind of stack, if you want a symmetrical border of the background paper visible, make sure your Pivot point is in the centre. It’s important! Typing a number into one of the dimension boxes – either one is fine, as long as you’re Constrained – is quick.

But if your Pivot point is in the lower right corner, for example, when you type in your number, this is what will happen. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, because there are ways it can make your workflow more streamlined if you want to work from a corner out. (You can tell this screenshot was an after-thought. Sorry!)

Here, you can see what decreasing the paper size by 5% for the first one and 5% MORE for the second one will look like. You can use any amount you like; if you want a wider border of your very bottom paper, go with a bigger drop. If you want one border wider than another, choose a smaller or larger decrease. A nice solid paper with a narrow gap looks really good. Oh, and you CAN use a decimal in that box. You don’t have to go with whole numbers.

All of these tips can be applied to any stack of papers you might contemplate, either as part of a template or freehand. Give it a shot becky_a, you’re probably underestimating yourself a LOT!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Can We Talk?

Today I’d like to take a baby step outside my comfort zone and talk about journaling. I struggle with it. I don’t love it. I’m VERY uncomfortable with it. But I know it’s an important part of memory-keeping, so I work at it. I know some of you are shaking your heads, because you’ve read my tutorials and you know how wordy I am. 😉 But somehow, I hate to put all those words onto my layouts.

So let’s deconstruct journaling a little. Why is it important? Well, first of all, the viewer isn’t necessarily going to know who is in the photos, what they’re doing, when it occurred, why they’re together or where it happened. Basic journalism 101. Some of these factors aren’t important every time, but for a scrapbooking layout to be meaningful, at least a couple of them should be included. A date and a location might be all that’s needed. For other layouts, like heritage layouts using very old family photos, more detail isn’t only needed, it’s what makes the layout special. Take this one for example.

I’ve put all the pertinent details in there. Now when others see it, they know a little about this boy. What it doesn’t say is why this layout is important to me, how Kenneth is connected to me… it’s lacking context. But if I tell you it’s part of a family history scrapbook, where I’ll include an extensive, multi-generation family tree, then it might not matter. (Kenneth is currently part of a genealogical mystery my cousin Lynne and I are trying to solve. He’s my first cousin twice removed while Lynne is one generation closer to him; he may have been “born on the wrong side of the blanket”. Now to prove it!)

Another aspect of journaling that matters is format. My personal dislike of narrative journaling is reflected in many of my layouts by its absence. But to other scrappers, narrative works. They’re able to tell a complete story within their page, filled with detail… and my deepest admiration! When I try to do that, it sounds stilted and boring. Here’s a glimpse into Katherine Woodin‘s life; her pages are always filled with day-to-day events and are like a pictorial diary.

Others use narrative journaling to process difficult events, as Biancka did here. That takes GUTS, ladies!!

So how can I inject some context into my layouts without resorting to my brand of stiff, boring, wordy text? Oh there are SO many ways!

Quotes are a good way of both illuminating the layout and grounding the subject matter. If I can find a quote that says what I want to say much more eloquently than I can, I’ll take it! Here’s an example.

Song lyrics are, in my mind, PERFECT for journaling! When I heard this song for the first time, this girl instantly came to mind. Then the perfect photo (by Erin Wallis Photography) came into my hands. Meant to be?

Word art can help tell a story very effectively. This layout is part of my Ireland collection and will be bookended by other layouts related to the Famine to provide more context.

This layout has more detail to flesh out the story.

Let’s not forget journal cards. They’re a combination of word art and sentiment, which can be very useful. Even if they’re just a spot to put your journaling, they can be just what your layout needs. I know I don’t use them as often as I should. For this layout I used a card that had space for me to put my own words, and I used a quote from my daughter. It says it all!

What about word strips? I LOVE them! They can take on the whole job of telling your story; it’s just a matter of finding ones that work. If you have a sense of humour, you can use word strips that actually relate to something else, but communicate your message effectively. In this example, the word strips I used came from a 2014 July Buffet kit from Ponytails, who no longer is a member of the GingerScraps family. They’re Canadian slang terms: Double Double is a shorthand Tim Horton’s coffee order, Beauty is a synonym of fantastic and Eh! is a pure Canadianism. But they made sense with my photo.

What creative journaling methods do you use? Help a girl out here!

Sneak Peeks July 25th 2019

Happy Thursday!!! Our designers have been working hard bringing you some awesome new releases! Let’s take a peek!

From Dagilicious

From Heather Z


From Tinci

From JoCee

From Aimee Harrison

From JB Studio


From Alexis Designs

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Pick Your Pivot Point

Today’s tutorial is a quickie – short, sweet and very much to the point. The PIVOT POINT that is! I’d seen a tutorial at another site that was compiled by the talented Yobeth Puckett, and I filed it away to examine more closely another time. Yesterday, I dragged it out and tried to make sense of it. Unsuccessfully. At first. Because I was overthinking it. But believe you me, this is going to be a boon to all of us because it’s going to speed up our scrapping and reduce frustration by a lot. I know I’m going to incorporate it into my workflow, starting today.

So you know how sometimes you’re using a template and you decide you really want the stripes on your paper to run diagonally instead of horizontally. So you drag and drop your paper onto your template, then you rotate it to the desired angle. But it looks like my screenshot – the paper isn’t covering the whole paper shape mask you’re planning to clip it to. Then you nudge the paper until it covers the shape. Many steps. But…

Have you paid any attention to the controls the Move tool provides? I know I didn’t. But I’m never going to ignore them again. See that little box made up of dots? It’s a POWERFUL thing. Notice that the central dot is selected.

That gray dot signifies the Pivot Point around which the object rotates. So if I left the centre dot selected, the paper would spin on centre. But if I MOVE the selection to another one of those dots, it changes the Pivot Point!

See? By moving the Pivot Point to the middle of the right side, then rotating my paper on THAT point, the shape is completely covered! To quickly get the exact angle I want on the pattern, I typed in a numeric in the Angle box rather than try to hit a moving target.

Then all I had to do was clip the paper to the shape. As you already know, I use keyboard shortcuts rather than click on a tab, drag the cursor down an options list then click on the one I want. Quick clipping is achieved by CTRL/CMD>G for versions prior to 14 and CTRL/CMD>ALT>G for versions 14 and up.

Sweet! Now I know a shortcut for rotating a paper. But what about something that isn’t symmetrical, like this piece of ribbon. I want the knot to sit on top of the bow’s knot, but I want the ribbon to be at about a 30° angle to the bow. How can it be rotated around a different Pivot Point? Is it even a thing??

Here’s what usually happens. I rotate the ribbon. Then I have to nudge it until the two knots line up. Not the end of the world, but boy, it would be nice to be able to do it even more quickly and easily. Work Smart Not Hard is my mantra after all!

The actual Pivot Point is at the centre of the bounding box around the ribbon, but I want it on the knot. I tried using the tool’s command box but it was a colossal fail. None of the options was right.

This is what happened when I selected the upper left corner of the box. Better, but not what I want.

This is the part where I struggled with Yobeth’s tutorial. I was really overthinking it, trying to drag the Pivot Point to where I wanted it while holding down the ALT key. But all I had to do was hold the ALT key down and CLICK on the spot where I wanted the Pivot Point to go.

It really IS that simple!!!!

I can think of so many ways to use this trick. One that immediately jumped to mind is for rotating photos to match the angle of photo spots on templates. It’ll save so much nudging, I’m not even kidding!

Now I’m ready to create my layout for the Storytelling Challenge. My examples here were set up using some of the items I’m going to use from LouCee CreationsShampoodle and Setter kit. It should be finished and in the Gallery by the time this tut goes live. See you all next week!



~July Featured Designer – CathyK Designs~

Hey everyone!! I’m sliding in here a bit late with this blog post. With vacation and getting my son ready to go to Belgium for two weeks, I completely lost track of time. Hope your July is going well.

Let’s jump right into my interview with our July Designer – Cathy from CathyK Designs.

How long have you been designing?

I opened my first digi shop in 2008, so about 11 years.

What made you decide to design?

I started making some freebies just for fun, then got hooked!

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

I use Photoshop CS4 and Inkscape, though I am considering moving to Creative Cloud once I update my computer hardware.

Describe your design workplace.

I have a computer desk with a desktop computer and large display in our family room. My work area tends to be pretty cluttered, plus I always have my paper planner and paper notebook open on the desk to scribble down ideas.

What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

I like seeing an idea come to fruition and then seeing how people use that kit to scrap their precious memories. I get inspiration and ideas from color, everyday life, my sons’ activities and interests, magazines, Pinterest, textures, a song, a good quote. Really, anything can be the inspiration for a product!

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

It’s so hard to answer that! I guess my current favorite is my Country Roads collection. At first, that palette didn’t appeal much to me and I struggled to find a direction. I actually started the collection with a completely different theme in mind, then our camping trips reminded me of simpler times, which made me think of country life (since I grew up in a smaller town in the south), so I completely switched directions and absolutely love how the collection turned out! Of course, the title is from the John Denver song that was stuck in my head the ENTIRE time I was working on it! “Country Roads, take me home to the place I belong…”


What was your first job?

In high school, I was a draftsperson for my father’s HVAC engineering company. This was back in the dark ages before CAD programs when everything was done by hand!

What is your favorite quote?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I included this one in this month’s Daily Download kit, Chart Your Own Course, because I liked the message.

What is something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

I’d love to take a longer trip to the mountains in our new RV. We’ve only taken short weekend trips so far.

If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?

Texting app, since that’s the best way to communicate with my young adult sons, Chrome web browser, since you can access pretty much everything you need just using that, and Google Maps.

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

Um, all the boring things I hate to do, like paying bills, organizing paperwork, cleaning, marketing!

Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?

Definitely back in time to meet my ancestors. Life would be pretty dull if you knew ahead of time how everything was gonna turn out!

What commercial jingle gets stuck in your head all the time.

“Bum-da-dump-bum-bum-bum-bum” from some insurance company.

If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?


Thanks Cathy!! Make sure to check out her GingerScraps Store and  Facebook Fan Page.

Have you been grabbing the Daily Download? If you’ve missed any pieces, it will be available as a full kit in her GingerScraps store beginning in August.

Thanks for hanging out with me today!!

Sneak Peeks July 18th 2019

Happy Thursday! This week has been a scorcher! I hope you are keeping cool indoors and scrapping some awesome pages! Our CT was busy this week with the new releases! Let’s check out their pages!

From Down This Road

From Dagilicious

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From Miss Fish

From Tinci

From Lindsay Jane


From LDrag

From JoCee


From Aimee Harrison